WHEN a footballer suffers an ACL injury it can be a long road back to returning to the level they once were at.

For Matthew Cavanagh he used this setback to his advantage by gaining valuable coaching experience.

Two years later, the former central midfielder is ready to get back onto the pitch and leave the club he has spent the majority of his career at.

Cavanagh had eight successful years as a player at Barnoldswick Town before working alongside Matt Barnes and Endrit Shehu.

The 30-year-old credits the club for all their support and is looking forward to possibly lacing up the boots once again in the future.

"I am at an age now where I fancy a different challenge and maybe I will go back to playing," he said.

"It is a fantastic club (Barnoldswick Town). The players that I have worked with and played alongside, hopefully I will be in touch with them for the rest of my life.

"I have a few different options. I am Yorkshire based so a few clubs have been in contact to get me back playing or be a part of their set-up and project for the future.

"It is early days. I am just going to take my time and make the right decision down the line."

Cavanagh has had a great career staring in the North West Counties Premier Division season in and season out.

Speaking about how he first joined the club all those years ago, he said: "I went to Craven college and knew a few lads who said come over to Barlick.

"I went into the reserves after about half a season. The management team, Stewart Airdrie and Kevin Richardson, invited me to the first team squad where I learnt a lot, mainly through training and being on the bench watching the games.

"There were a group of players who were very good and experienced. They were in the top four of the North West Counties Premier so I learnt a lot during those early years.

"Over the years it changes and you just get used to the standard that you are playing. It is a tough league there are some good sides in it and some with big budgets.

"Barlick have always done really well to keep up with most of those sides from where they are."

The PE teacher has played for several bosses during his time and finds it difficult to choose his favourite.

He also thinks current manager Shehu has what it takes to get Barlick flying high next season.

Cavanagh said: "They have had some good managers over the last decade when I have been there who have done really well. I have given my absolute all to every single one of them.

"I learned a lot under Ben Hall in the early days. The last couple of years I learned a lot from Danny Craig. He was a fantastic manager and coach. Some of his standards and philosophies I have taken into my little management career.

"I met Matt (Barnes) after my first operation. He is a friend now and is a fantastic bloke on and off the pitch.

"I learnt how to manage a dressing room, he is a great character who gets the lads behind him. During his time there we worked well together.

"I have known Endrit for a few years. He came in as a coach and took on the managerial role.

"I can’t see why he can't be successful next season and progress the side. He has got a good pre-season to bring players in and adapt his own side."

Cavanagh expressed his thanks to everyone at the football club and wishes them the best for the future.